A clinical trial is a research study whose purpose is to determine the most effective treatment for a particular disease. Each trial is based on a detailed evaluation of factors involved in the standard treatment (the current best treatment) and factors that could lead to better survival rates or a reduction in side effects or late effects of treatment. Clinical trials test many types of treatment such as new drugs, new approaches to surgery or radiation therapy, new combinations of treatments, or new methods such as gene therapy.
There are currently more than 75 clinical trials in progress at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas, covering a variety of subject areas including cancer, blood disorders, infectious disease, endocrine conditions, trauma, and community health.
The cure rate for pediatric cancer continues to increase due to the past success of childhood cancer research through the Children’s Oncology Group (COG). COG is an international research organization sponsored by the National Cancer Institute. The Central Texas Children’s Blood and Cancer Program, which encompasses both Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas and The Children’s Ambulatory Blood and Cancer Center, is a member of COG and has access to over 70 COG study protocols. These protocols treat not only the most common forms of childhood cancer, such as leukemia and brain tumors, but also lymphomas, cancers of the bone and soft tissue, and other rare tumors. The information learned from these protocols contributes to the continuing improvement in treatment strategies. Patients treated on research protocols have an increased four year disease free survival rate as compared to patients who are neither treated according to a study protocol nor receive care at a pediatric cancer center.